Learning to craft my eco products at Inner Insights Holistic School and Spa

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Hello friends! The past few days I have been busy making test batches of soaps and other Eco friendly products. I had the greatest time attending my class at Inner Insights Holistic School and Spa and I have to say the owner Stephie Cyr is a very educated and amazing teacher. I spent the day with her learning about essential oils and properties many which I had never heard of before how interesting.

If you have never smelled a authentic pure essential oil this is definitely where to order from for the real deal. Check the link to order and see for yourself. The Himalayan Flower, saffron vanilla, Vetiver, Kashmiri, and pink lotus oil were so exotic and beautiful I cannot even explain. I am unable to use them in any of my home use products but  I could add them to products that I am going to be making.

I will be focusing on 100% Natural products. I have learned to craft some wonderful things such as deodorant, Lip balms, Healing salves, Anti-aging serums, bath bombs for moisturizing and soothing, and honestly so much more.  I can’t wait to get them started in the next few weeks. I am so excited to move forward with this new path in life.raw-butter-jar

 

Recipe: Moist Oven Baked Pork Chops

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Ingredients

4 boneless, pork chops – ~1 inch thick
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp  minced garlic
1 tsp minced onion
1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 to 1 c water

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Mix together black pepper,  salt, garlic & onion . Rub evenly all over each pork chop.
3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over med-high heat. Lay pork chops on pan and allow to sear for 2 minutes without moving them. Flip the pork chops over and allow to sear for 1 minute longer.
4. Remove pork chops and place in an oven safe baking dish.
5. Pour in the water. You will want the water to come about 1/3 the way up the pork chop.
6. Cover baking dish tightly.
7. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I would not check until at least an 1 1/2 hours have past. You will let out all the steam that is keeping the chops moist.
8. The juices in the baking dish make a wonderful gravy.

Dealing with MSC Disorder. (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) in our family

 

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Within the last year my husband has been diagnosed with an extreme MSC disorder from the Toronto Womans College Hospital.  I thought to educate people on this matter would be informative and answer many questions for others.

Multiple chemical sensitivity can include a wide range of symptoms, which some people link to their environment. It’s also known as Environmental illness, MCS disability or idiopathic environmental intolerance.

The symptoms are wide-ranging. They include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, congestion, itching, sneezing, sore throat, chest pain, changes in heart rhythm, breathing problems, muscle pain or stiffness, skin rash, stomach and gastric issues, confusion, trouble concentrating, memory problems, and mood changes.

Possible triggers that set off his symptoms vary a lot, too. They include tobacco, coffee, cleaning products, essential oils, smoke, auto exhaust, perfume, insecticide, new carpet, chlorine, and so much more. In his case, clove oils, and the mint family are the worst offender.

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There is no question that high doses of some chemicals make people sick and that irritants such as pollution and cigarette smoke worsen conditions like asthma. How very low levels of chemical exposure affect people isn’t clear.Some doctors suggest it’s an immune response similar to allergies. Others say that the symptoms stem from an extreme sensitivity to certain smells. It’s possible that conditions such as depression and anxiety play a role, too.

Once a social, productive man has gradually become unable to tolerate being in offices, schools, hospitals, and public places such as shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, libraries, etc. You can imagine how isolating this would be and difficult to explain to people who just don’t get it. It is a lot to take in and adapt to in a new lifestyle for all of us.We are doing fine thou, day by day we learn more about this condition and adapt as we go.

 

Presenting Green Grass Grove’s soap and products lab!

So I have made the shift this week and decided to stop the cake design business and focus more on my family, the healthy lifestyle and choices that are making my heart sing! I can tell you at first it was a blow to my self esteem but now that I have slept on it a few days and relaxed I am confident on my decision to let it be.

I am so fortune enough to have a very supportive family. Since my husband has his chemical sensitives disorder and  is wary of any natural oils he does not know (he is very reactive to clove and minted family oils) and chemicals I was on the hunt for a soap and products lab. My wonderful sister in law was amazing enough to set me a space aside to recreate as I pleased! How awesome is she!

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MY VERY OWN SOAP AND PRODUCTS LAB!

I am all set for this coming week to attend the Eco products development workshop at Inner Insights Holistic School and Spa. There I will be learning to create my own Deodorant, Natural Perfumes, Linen spray , Buzz Remedy, Lip Balm, Healing Salve for irritated skin, Aromatherapy Bath Salts, Deep Tissue Ache Relief Blend, Aromatic bath bombs, and laugh line serums. This I will couple with my already invested knowledge of tooth powders,shampoo, hair rinses, shave soaps and washing products.

All in good time I will eventually have a full line available with my focus being on 100% Natural products at reasonable cost. I will keep you all posted as it develops.

I am so proud to show you my first batch of test soap as well! I Even tried out some soap stamping to fancy it up.

FIRST batch
My First test batch! 100% Pure Olive & Coconut oil Cold Process soap.

REVIEW: PlanetBox Lunch Systems

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 When my little girl started school 5 years ago, in junior kindergarten a friend of mine showed me a amazing stainless steel lunch box. I immediately noticed  that was cute, functional, sturdy, and safe.  It  seemed expensive at the time but I am so happy I bought a PlanetBox. There are 3 Sizes Rover, Launch and the snack size shuttle.

 Many Benefits

After trying out our Launch system, I was extremely pleased! Here are my favorite benefits shared by both the Launch and Rover lunch box system:

  • These lunch boxes are made from stainless steel and are extremely sturdy. Our original lunch box has withstood being used for five years so far, being dropped numerous times (and who knows what else it’s been through at school). The stainless steel lunch box is also dishwasher safe! It has survived numerous dishwashings, even on the bottom rack!
  • The lunchboxes close with a little metal latch. My daughter had no problem opening and closing this on her own. And we’ve never had an issue with it accidentally popping open (which I LOVE because I’m thinking I’ve been saved from having to clean out many icky backpacks thanks to this awesome feature!)
  • PlanetBox products are independently certified to be safe from lead, phthalates, and BPA.
  • Both systems have individualized compartments. At first I simply loved this because it kept all the food nicely separated and in it’s own spot, but over the last few years I’ve learned having these separate compartments has encouraged me to pack healthy, balanced meals. Packing these has helped me really see and think about what I’ve packed- it’s all just right out in front of you.
  • Less waste! We really try to do our best to reduce the amount of waste we produce.
  • Using these lunch boxes can help save money over time. The lunch boxes do cost more up front than most others, however in the long run, I’m able to save money over time. I know these are guaranteed to last at least 5 years, so that’s at least 5 years of not having to buy a new lunch box. I also don’t have to buy baggies and plastic food containers to store the food since it already has nice compartments.
  • I love how you can personalize these lunch systems with the type and color of case and with the selection of magnets you can use to decorate the outside. I know starting off the school year with something new and different can be exciting for kids, so at the start of the year we can get a new magnet set for her lunchbox. Now you buy custom made magnet sets as well!
  • The carrying cases are very nice too! Both carrying cases have nice pockets to store things.There’s pockets in the carrying case for things like napkins and utensils.

 

Packing Lunches

 

And it’s also tons of fun packing them! Have you seen all those super cute ideas for packing bento-type lunches? They totally work with these! I don’t really have much time to make super fancy lunches, but sometimes I’ll put a little extra effort into the cuteness department around the holidays.

And to help make packing lunches fun and simple, PlanetBox has a meal planning app.  I’m having so much fun with it. It helps you create lunches for the week with a visual planning system and even allows you to share your meal ideas with others. It’s a great resource!

Which One to Buy

 

So it’s pretty obvious we are in love with both our Planet Boxes! They both have the same benefits, although there are a couple differences. The Rover actually holds less food than the Launch and has more compartments that are smaller. This makes the Rover more suitable for a younger student and offers smaller portions and more variety in the Rover. This is not to say we never use the Launch, but I usually go for the Rover most often. If your child is older, the Launch system might suit them better. There’s fewer compartments, but they are deeper and can hold larger quantities of food including a whole sandwich.

Here’s a side-by-side view of similar lunches in both the Rover (left) and Launch (right) to give you a comparison of the size.

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Where to Find PlanetBox

This is definitely one of my favorite purchases in the past.  PlanetBox is definitely worth a look next time your in the market for a new lunch box for your family. They have a Facebook Page you can visit if you have any questions or to read rave reviews from PlanetBox owners. You can buy PlanetBox Lunch Systems on the PlanetBox website or on Amazon. In canada you can buy them here at The Ninety Ninth monkey online

Recipe: Irish Colcannon Soup

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Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bacon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 5½ ounces Savoy cabbage, thick stalks removed and shredded
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water, heated
  • ⅔ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, diced and at room temperature

Instructions

1. Heat a large pan and saute the bacon over a medium to high heat for a 2­5 minutes, rendering the fat, but stopping short of crisping it.
2. Reduce to low heat and add the onion, potatoes, leek, and cabbage. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes until well softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
3. Pour the warm vegetable stock or water into the cabbage mixture and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat back to medium ­low.
4. Allow the soup to simmer for 5-­10 minutes and season to taste.
5. Stir in the milk and simmer for a few minutes until the soup has a creamy texture.
6. Remove the soup from the heat and whisk in the butter. It is important not to re­boil the soup once the butter has been added, or it will curdle.
7. Ladle the soup into serving bowls.

Source adapted: http://bit.ly/2mPpVtF

 

An honest blog…Where am I going in my life?

Today is the day for writing a honest post about a few things. Currently in life I am in a position where I feel a bit torn and maybe a bit overwhelmed at times. Here is where I am at. I work at a wonderful job as a server at a local family restaurant  which I adore. They treat me as part of their family and that means the world to me. So I can count that out as any source of confusion in my life.

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I am by nature a very artistic and creative person, but in that aspect I think that I can appear flip floppy with my hobbies and other investments of time. For the last 10 years I have been making cakes and confections, hand painted fancy works of edible art that I take pride in and I was convinced I was destined to become a professional baker at. I have tried and failed a few times at my own go at expanding,  and it quickly becomes overwhelming,  taking an enormous hit to my self esteem and then it becomes too much for me and worsens my anxiety. So lately I have felt myself cringe at the thought of one more order.Is this it for me? Am I done? I don’t really know for now it is going on the back burner in my life.I can tell you that it pains me to even write all this, I mean I feel like I am a failure.

 

I started Green Grass Grove as a blog for myself to vent, to educate and to grow personally. I think that it has changed me. Dealing with my husbands chemical sensitivities disorder has taken a lot out of me and personally,  I want to help him become strong and healthy again. I have been schooling to become a certified nutritionist and now I am pursuing other avenues to  learn to create my own line of 100% Natural, unscented products including soaps, toiletries and cleaning products. As always in my creative nature I want to share my experience and craft with others and when I am there I will do so proudly.

My best friend who is always a amazing source of encouragement and advice is my rock. She is so assuring of my decisions and always has sound ideas on how I should approach things. She commented last evening about how people are generally so wrapped up in themselves that they are often to busy to even notice thing things that you find to be a mountainous source of anxiety. I thought for awhile last night and she is completely right.

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Ultimately the choice is mine and for now this is the way I am headed. This is what makes me happy and want to be excited about and I think that what I am going to focus my energy on. Its never about getting rich with me, its about expanding my horizons and learning.No explanations needed to anyone. I only have to answer to myself and that’s what I am going to do.

I value and input and comments on this post. Thank you :o)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is coffee bad for you?

To the age-old question “Is coffee bad for you?”, researchers are in more agreement than ever that the answer is a resounding “no.” A new study published in the journal Nature Medicine found that older people with low levels of inflammation — which drives many, if not most, major diseases — had something surprising in common: they were all caffeine drinkers.

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“The more caffeine people consumed, the more protected they were against a chronic state of inflammation,” says study author David Furman, consulting associate professor at the Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection at Stanford University. “There was no boundary, apparently.”

In the study, Furman and his colleagues analyzed blood samples from 100 young and old people. The older people tended to have more activity in several inflammation-related genes compared with the younger group — no surprise, since as people get older, inflammation throughout the body tends to rise. Chronic diseases of aging, like diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, cancer, joint disorders and Alzheimer’s, are all believedto have inflammation in common. “Most of the diseases of aging are not really diseases of aging, per se, but rather diseasesof inflammation,” Furman says. The more active these genes were, the more likely the person was to have high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

What’s more, even among older people, those with lower levels of these factors were more protected against inflammation — and they had something else in common too. They all drank caffeine regularly. People who drank more than five cups of coffee a day showed extremely low levels of activity in the inflammatory gene pathway. Caffeine inhibits this circuit and turns the inflammatory pathway off, the researchers say.

The goal isn’t to make every trace of inflammation disappear, the scientists stress. In fact, inflammation is an important function of the immune system, which uses it to fight off infections and remove potentially toxic compounds. But with aging, the process isn’t regulated as well as it is in a younger body. “Clearly in aging something is breaking down, and we become less effective at managing this inflammation,” says Mark Davis, director of the Stanford institute. “But now in this paper, we identify a particular pathway that was not associated with inflammation before. We are able to point, with a much higher resolution picture, at aging and the things that should be markers for inflammation.”

The key will be to figure out when the inflammatory response starts to spiral out of control. In an upcoming study, Furman and others will soon investigate the immune systems of 1,000 people; he hopes to use that information to develop a reference range of immune-system components to tell people whether their levels are normal, or if they’re at higher risk for developing chronic conditions driven by inflammation.

In the meantime, following the example of caffeine-drinking adults with lower levels of inflammation — by having a cup of joe or two — might be a good idea.

 

Source:  http://bit.ly/2mGe2ai

 

Recipe: Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large celery stocks, diced
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp. parsley to garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, heat olive oil and add chopped onion, and celery. Cook for four minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Next, add garlic cloves and saute another minute.
  2. Stir in diced sweet potatoes, dried thyme leaves and salt. Pour in chicken broth, partially cover and simmer 20 min or until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Using a hand-held immersion blender or regular blender, puree soup until smooth. Pour soup back into pot (if using blender) and add coconut milk. Stir to combine. Season to taste. Distribute soup into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

 

 

Source: http://bit.ly/1ovxxTF

Recipe: Classic Paleo Chicken Pot Pie

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Ingredients

For the crust:
1-1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1tsp salt
1/2tsp baking powder
2/3cup lard
6TBSP cold water

For the filling:

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breastscut into small cubes
2 carrots chopped
1 cup broccoli chopped
1/3 cup butter
1/3cup chopped onion
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch paprika
1 3/4 cups chicken broth or bone broth
1/3cup coconut milk

Instructions

For the crust:

  1. Using a fork, stir together the almond flour, tapioca flour, salt and baking powder.
  2. Cut in the lard until the mixture resembles course sand.
  3. Stir in the cold water.
  4. Place in refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the chicken, carrots and broccoli.
  3. Cover with water and boil until chicken is done, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.In another saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until tender.
  4. Stir in tapioca flour, salt, pepper and paprika.
  5. Slowly stir in chicken broth and coconut milk.
  6. Simmer over medium-low heat until thickened like gravy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Check on your crust–if it’s chilled completely, it’s ready. If it’s still a bit sticky and not cold, wait another 15-20 minutes. Note: The crust dough MUST be cold in order for it not to stick!
  8. Divide the dough in half and place 1/2 in a 9-inch pie plate, and put the other 1/2 back in the fridge.
  9. Place a piece of parchment paper on top and press down with another pie tin or plate until flat. Use your fingers to spread the dough crust to the sides if necessary.
    Stir together the chicken mixture and butter mixture, then pour into crust.
  10. Take the other 1/2 of your crust out of the fridge and place between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll into a circle, then lay on top of your pie.
  11. Note: You may need to use some more almond flour or tapioca flour for the top crust. You need to work quickly to get the top crust on. It may not be perfect looking, but it tastes amazing!
  12. Place on baking sheet (it may bubble over), and bake in oven for 30-35 minutes, until crust is golden brown.
  13. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.